>> Hand-foot-mouth disease alarming in HCMC
>> Hand-foot-and-mouth cases rise sharply in VN
>> Cases of hand, foot and mouth disease rocket
Compared to the same period last year, the number of HFMD patients has increased 7.46 times, and the death toll has soared by 100 percent, said the ministry’s Health Preventive Department.
Southern provinces account for the most part of the total number of patients, 19 patients per 100,000 inhabitants, followed by the Central Highlands area with a ratio of 13.9 per 100,000, said Nguyen Van Binh, head of the department.
The ministry will send many working teams to various localities to assist local authorities in controlling and preventing the spread of the disease.
HFMD is a common viral illness among infants and children that causes a fever and blister-like eruptions around the mouth and/or a skin rash.
In Vietnam the most common strain is Enterovirus 71 (EV-71), which causes sores on the mouth and blisters on the hands and feet of patients.
There are no vaccines or even specific drugs for this highly contagious disease, but certain precautions can help reduce its spread, the ministry said.
People should wash their children’s hands frequently and thoroughly, especially after they use the toilet and before they eat. They should also keep their children’s toys clean and restrict them from putting any toys or other tools into their mouth.
In Ho Chi Minh City, HFMD has spread to 211 wards and communes, 68 of which have three or more patients, said Dr. Nguyen Dac Tho, deputy head of the city Preventive Health Center.
There have been nearly 1,000 patients since the beginning of the year and one of them has died. In February alone, 498 children contracted the disease, up 14 percent from January and five times higher than the previous year.
The disease is expected to continue spreading widely this month and over the next two months, Dac said.
Last year, the disease claimed the life of 153 people nationwide, most of them children.